‘Make yourself at home’
Lovely words to hear when you enter the house of a friend aren’t they.
A couple of times in the last week or so, I have come across this sort of phrase as I spent time with God.
First in Joshua 21 where it says,
‘And so God gave Israel the entire land that he had solemnly vowed to give to their ancestors. They took possession of it and made themselves at home in it.’
And in John 15 where Jesus says,
‘I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
This is how my Father shows who he is, when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done, kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.’
Both of these scriptures encourage us to take up our part, our responsibility, and engage with his purposes.
In Joshua they need to take over the land he’s given to them and make themselves at home. Then Jesus expects us to be so familiar with his words, knowing and living them, that we can feel ourselves to be at home in them, and at home with him as his word leads into greater familiarity with him.
‘Make yourself at home’. A funny old phrase really, but well suited to friends. He makes that point too, he doesn’t call us servants anymore, we are his friends if we walk with him, pressing in to do those things we are called to, because we understand his ways and his heart.
Leaving behind the things of old which caused hassle for us and others. Why? Because we understand his ways and his heart.
Not rules to follow or you’re out, but a family likeness which he brings about in us as we walk with him. This isn’t a hardship, it is a delight to see his characteristics developing in our own day to day life, as we happily put energy into this transformation.
How amazing to see genuine change in lives which we know ourselves wouldn’t be the way they are now if it wasn’t for him with his loving intervention and transforming presence.